Four Bean Salad Recipe — A Refreshing Side Dish Served Cold

With the welcome of warm days, there’s no better time to share the recipe for the Four Bean Salad I grew up on, with a flavor so specific, it gives cravings that nothing else seems to satisfy. It’s the perfect mix of tangy, salty and sweet and an evolution of the classic three bean salad some of you may be familiar with. Served cold, it’s refreshing and I. Love. It.

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The ingredients to make Four Bean Salad are really simple and we typically have most of them on hand. While the standard version featured three beans — kidney, green and wax — I’ve added garbanzo beans to mine. The standard version also included a three-cup dressing mix of one cup each of oil, vinegar and sugar. But I think you’ll agree that is WAY too much and is not needed. My salad only requires a half cup of each dressing ingredient. I like to leave the onions sliced in to rounds, rather than chopping them in to smaller pieces. Here’s what you need…

  • can of cut green beans
  • can of wax beans
  • can of dark red kidney beans
  • can of garbanzo beans
  • red onion
  • canola (or other vegetable oil)
  • white vinegar
  • sugar
  • salt
  • pepper

Four Bean Salad Recipe -- Cold Side Dish for Summer

Can You Make Four Bean Salad Ahead of Time?

Yes! And, you should! It’s very important to allow the salad to marinate in the refrigerator, at least overnight. The more it marinates, the better it is! While it’s an easy dish to pull together, it isn’t one you can successfully pull off at the last minute since the flavors would be compromised.

Perfect Cold Summer Side Dish -- Four Bean Salad


We most recently served this Four Bean Salad for our Easter Dinner, alongside smoked beef brisket, hash brown casserole (recipe coming soon), spinach casserole (recipe HERE) and watermelon. The Four Bean Salad pairs perfectly with almost any protein — especially in a cookout setting — including:

  • Hamburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • Barbecue Pork
  • Barbecue Chicken
  • Smoked Beef Brisket
  • Basked Ham
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Chicken Casserole
  • Pork Chops
  • Sandwiches
  • Fried Chicken
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Pot Roast
  • Steak
  • Baked Chicken
  • Meat Loaf

Other cold salads may be added to your menu, such as potato or pasta salad. Or, it’s also yummy to  serve alongside a warm vegetable or starch, like we did for Easter.

Cold 4 Bean Salad Side Dish Recipe


Cold Four Bean Salad Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Four Bean Salad

My version of the standard Three Bean Salad features four different beans and is more calorie-friendly with less oil and sugar. This is the perfect side for picnics, grilling and barbecue. It's a perfect blend of savory and sweet!

Course cookout, Dinner, Luncheon, picnic, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword garbanzo beans, green beans, kidney beans, potluck, warm weather salad, wax beans
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 8


  • 1 can Dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans
  • 1 can Green beans
  • 1 can Wax beans
  • 1/2 Red onion - sliced and separated into rounds A Vidalia onion may also be substituted. You may add more onion, if you'd like.
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup White vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Open all cans and drain and rinse in the colander in this order.

    Dump in kidney beans and rinse well.

    Dump in garbanzo beans and rinse.

    Dump in green beans and wax beans and rinse lightly.

    Slice red onion.

    Mix oil, vinegar and sugar together.

    Dump beans in mixing bowl. Add red onion (separated in rings.) Pour dressing over beans/onion. Add salt and pepper and stir to incorporate.

    Cover and refrigerate overnight. Stir the salad periodically while it is marinating in the refrigerator.

    Prior to serving, drain off excess marinade.

Cold Four Bean Salad Recipe

Whenever you think of cold salad sides, I think it’s pretty typical for our minds to wander to the more common varieties of pasta and potato salads. This is a great one to keep in your arsenal to mix things up a bit!

Four Bean Salad -- Summer Cookout Side Dish

Sources: Small White Bowls | Flatware | Linen Napkins | Stainless Pepper Mill | Wooden Spoon | Serving Bowl (similar)

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Cookout Side Dish Idea: Four Bean Salad


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  1. 5.17.22
    Dikeledi Mokonyane said:

    5 stars
    Cooking and trying new recipe is my favorite things to do.
    Cooking is my passion and I love how delicious tastes.

    • 5.17.22

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and I appreciate your note. Happy cooking!